INT: Paul Solet

Paul Solet's debut feature, GRACE, has been playing the festival circuit for the last year or so, and has raked up an impressive number of wildly positive reviews. I was lucky enough to catch this film recently, and I found it to be an extremely effective, and beautifully shot thriller- that owes more to classic horror films like ROSEMARY'S BABY, THE EXORCIST, VIDEODROME, & THE SHINING, than it does to a lot of the gorier genre offerings we've been seeing lately. It's a fantastic indie horror film that marks the arrival of a major new talent in director Paul Solet. I was lucky enough to catch up with Solet, while he was in my hometown, Montreal, showing GRACE at the Fantasia Film Festival.

CB: Before turning GRACE into a feature film, it began as a short film, right?

PS: Yeah, the short was really well received, and it was important to me not just to make a trailer, or a pitch film, but rather something that could stand on it's own, and to prove I could handle story-telling, and character arcs- which you can do in a commercial- which is NOT my background. There are nuances to feature filmmaking that you simply can't demonstrate in a commercial.

CB: Considering the indie roots of the film, I found it looked incredibly polished, and I have to mention Jordan Ladd. Of course I know here from Eli Roth films, but this is really the first time I've seen her really carry a film, and I thought she did a tremendous job in the lead.

PS: She did a GREAT job in a difficult role. The character is really someone the audience has to stay with throughout, and have empathy for. She makes some pretty horrifying decisions over the course of the film, and you need someone like Jordan Ladd, who happens to be a really empathetic person. It's very difficult not to like her, in fact it's difficult not to love her- I mean who doesn't have a crush on Jordan Ladd? She's remarkably talented, and very, very smart- which is what we were looking for. She bring s a whole girl next door quality to the character. I've followed her career for a while know. I've know Eli Roth since I was a little kid, and I followed CABIN FEVER from the beginning, and knowing the awesome time he had with her, that's really how I got introduced to her, and how she became Madeleine.

CB: I also really liked Samantha Ferris, as her ex-lover, turned midwife.

PS: She's a great Vancouver actress, who's also a remarkable human being. I never got a chance to read her, but she sent in a reel, and I knew she was exactly what we were looking for.

CB: I remember reading online that this is like ORDINARY PEOPLE meets ROSEMARY'S BABY, and for me, what I liked is that it doesn't really play out like a horror film, but almost more of a straight drama- although the horror elements are really there- but not in a way to titillate the audience. How did you decide on that tone.

PS: Well, my sensibilities definitely lean towards filmmaker like David Cronenberg, but I also like straight gore. I came out of the womb with a Fangoria in my hand, but as for films I want to make, are... Well, I don't just want to make cerebral art films, but I do want to make somewhat cerebral horror films that work on a deeper level, and not to get too precious about it, but a good genre film can work on a spiritual level, and change the ways people look at films...

CB: Sure, just look at THE EXORCIST, ROSEMARY'S BABY, or THE SHINING- THOSE are the films that are remembered...

PS: Sure, and you know what, as much as I love all the sub genre's, I think we should all be aspiring to make the best films we can, and I make the types of films I WOULD want to see.

CB: I also thought that for a film written, and directed by a guy, the film had exceptional strong female characters. The fact that the characters are actually gay is done in a really sophisticated, mature way. What brought you to writing as film about such strong women.

PS: Well, I grew up around strong women- my mom being the first example, and the same is true today. I had a female production designer that really understood the material on a whole other level- she was carrying around her twenty month old son Rory, every day. It's also important to understand that you, and I, as men, can simply never understand on a cellular level, certain things about being a woman, or a mother like a woman can, and it's about trying to be humble enough to continually solicit opinions from women and mother to make it accurate.

CB: What's next for you?

PS: I have a few projects going, and it really depends on what gets going first, but I have one project BSH that's been getting a lot of buzz. I'm not supposed to talk about it, but I can say it'll make CUJO look like BENJI.

CB: Sounds good, count me in! Also, when is GRACE getting released.

PS: We have a limited theatrical roll out happening in North American in August, and the DVD, & BLU-RAY are coming out Sept 15.

CB: Well- congrats on the film, and good luck at the fest.

PS: Thanks man!

* Photos courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Source: AITH

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